Research and Insights

CJC at the 2018 American Academy of Advertising Conference

March 22-25, 2018
New York, New York


Jon Morris, professor of Advertising

Facing Anger Versus Fear: How Individuals Regulate Level of Control in Risk Communication

Co-Author: Jing (Taylor) Wen, Ph.D. 2017, assistant professor, University of South Carolina College of Information and Communications

Abstract: Grounded in the motivational aspect of emotions, the current study proposes the underlying mechanism to explain how people in different levels of control (i.e., anger versus fear) are motivated to regulate their emotions. To further test this mechanism, this study utilizes various emotional appeals to examine different routes that individuals take to restore or maintain their level of control in the context of anti-terrorism communication. Angry people report greater feeling of control and more favorable ad attitude when exposed to a positive and high-dominance message as well as a negative and low-dominance message. In contrast, fearful people report similar results when exposed to four different emotional messages. In addition, the significant findings on ad attitude and behavioral intention is more prominent among angry people who have a higher need for control.

Graduate Students

Daniel Pimentel, doctoral student

So Cute it Hurts!: The Interplay Between Animal Cuteness and Message Framing in Environmental Ads


Sri Kalyanaraman, professor of Journalism
Shiva Halan, postdoctoral fellow

AbstractResearch in environmental communication has examined various persuasion strategies in attempting to influence consumers’ attitudes and decision-making. Despite a plethora of studies, though, the lack of consensus on what makes a message effective has prompted calls for expanding the range of factors to study.  We introduce one such concept in the current investigation: cuteness (broadly, the degree to which an organism is perceived as endearing). We examine the interplay between cuteness and a traditional message element viz. frames (e.g., touting the benefits that can be accrued as a result of following a recommended procedure or highlighting the negative effects that can result by failing to conform to the recommendation) in the context of the perils of oil spills on those communities (penguins) that are directly affected by such environmental hazards. Specifically, we report results from a 2 (message frame: gain, loss) x 2 (cuteness of penguin: high, low) between-subjects experiment (N = 112) that exposed participants to one of four digital advertisements and gauged their attitudes, threat perceptions, and behavioral intentions. Consistent with our expectations, the interaction effects suggest that cuteness could be a novel element in message effects scholarship, and especially so while emphasizing the plight of affected communities.